Monday, May 17, 2010

The Lord is Your Stronghold

All Scripture quotations are from HCSB translation.

Psalm 27:1-2 "The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom should I be afraid?"

I don't believe David would be asking these questions unless he was feeling challenged by fear or anxiety. As I have seen so often when I read the Psalms, David talks to his soul and to his mind whenever he's confronting doubts, fear, depression, or anxiety; and he reminds himself of who God is and how God loves him and how He thinks about him. (Check out Psalm 139)

In Psalm 27, David was practicing what many secular psychologists advocate today--positive self-talk. Christian singer, author, and speaker Jennifer Rothschild, wrote a book about that subject entitled, Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. I haven't read that book but some of the material was covered in her Bible study that I did last summer--Me, Myself and Lies. The difference in Christian self talk and secular self talk is power. When a Christian starts speaking God's Word to himself, he is unleashing the power in God's Word to transform his heart, heal his soul, and renew his mind. He is bowing his will (which is not perfect or all-knowing) and he is inviting God to do His will in his life (which is perfect, good, and omniscient).

So if the LORD is my light and my salvation as well as the stronghold of my life-whom should I fear? Of whom should I be afraid? To those battling social anxiety or who may have been bullied all their lives or who are afraid of a boss' reaction when they mess up, or afraid to go shopping because they may get mugged, these are comforting words indeed!!! I have lived in fear because of those situations and more, but God showed me that He is my Defender and my Protector. David knew it, too.

Psalm 27:3 "Though an army deploy against me, my heart is not afraid; though war breaks out against me, still I am confident."

David knew that he was more than a conqueror because God was "for" him. He also knew that nothing would happen to him unless it was allowed by God. All power, all authority belongs to our God. When we step under His wings of protection (Ps. 91), we can be assured of His faithfulness.

Psalm 27:5 "For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock."

Psalm 27:7 "LORD, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me."

David didn't take God's protection for granted. He cried out to God whenever He wanted His help. He kept his relationship with God first and foremost in his life. They knew each other. They had a history together. And David obeyed God's commandments. David loved God with all of his heart, all of his soul, all of his mind, and all of his strength.

Psalm 27:4 "I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD
and seeking [Him] in His temple."

Can you think of a better way of spending your days than in the courts of God, gazing upon His glorious beauty and being lavished with His love? I try to keep my mind on God no matter what is going on so that even if someone gets angry with me or is rude to me, I can smile in return and think, "That's okay. My God loves me. My God is here with me. He is my Stronghold. I am well loved." It's difficult at times, but I have been able to do it once or twice, and the result was amazing. It just sort of diffused the negative of the situation. It's my goal to live in the awareness of God's presence all the time--if not perfectly, then at least in consistent pursuit of that goal.

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